End of Custody Supervised Licence: Extension

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 12:37 pm ar 8 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice 12:37, 8 Mai 2024

I am grateful to the shadow Secretary of State for her question and would gently say a number of things to her. First, she suggests we were sneaking this out in October and March; that included statements to this House and was entirely transparent. On the hon. Lady’s party’s record, it operated an early release scheme for three years between 2007 and 2010, which leaves her on rather shaky ground. She talked about a media leak. This was an operational decision with operational guidance sent out to His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service and prison governors as well as other stakeholders, including, if I recall correctly, the probation union, for a minor change that was already reflected in the points made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Justice in March to this House.

The hon. Lady talked about data. The Secretary of State has been consistently clear that we will publish the data on an annualised basis, in exactly the same way as we do, for example, for deaths in custody and supplementary breakdowns of the prison population. We have been clear that we will always ensure that the prisons system has the spaces for the courts to be able to send people to prison. We are making an appropriate operational decision to ensure that continues to be the case.

The hon. Lady also rightly asked about probation, and I suspect that in our exchanges the one thing on which we might find ourselves in agreement is paying tribute to those who work in our probation service. As she will know, since 2021 we have increased the budget for the service by £155 million, with 4,000 additional probation officers in training. We have worked with the leadership of our probation service on this scheme and the probation union was one of the bodies we notified on the changes to the operational guidance.